Acoustic pianos are traditional instruments where a keyboard causes a hammer to hit the string which is amplified by an acoustic soundboard. 

An acoustic piano will last for years (50+ years from new!) making them much more economical than a digital piano where parts can become hard to source after about 10 years.  Acoustic pianos do require upkeep, tuning is recommended every 6 months and it will need to be serviced over the years to keep all the parts functioning properly.    


Bigger Is Better...

Where two acoustic pianos are of the same quality of build, the bigger piano will have a better sound.  This is because the strings are longer.  A pitch of a string is determined by the tension, length and mass; so if a string is longer but needs to be at the same tension (to create the same note), you need a thinner string.  Thinner strings vibrate more easily which, alongside a bigger soundboard/amplifier gives you a better sound. 

Quality of Materials

Where the quality of materials of a piano are better, an instrument will need more time setting up to make the most of these materials.  For mass produced pianos, there is a certain amount of time allocated for every task needed to build a piano (usually around 18 minutes).  This means that on a production line, you get different people working on different sections of a piano and you only ever get an average of everybody’s work. 

High quality pianos both have a higher potential and one technician working on a piano to get the best out of it.  They will spend a huge amount of time voicing, toning and regulating each individual piano. 


You could say a piano is as good as the technicians that have worked on it.  The cheaper mass produced pianos probably have more potential but because pianos are built to a price point, it is not worth spending the time and money improving them.  Those choosing entry level pianos may not notice so much, because technically they are not going to use the piano to its full potential anyway.  Beginners are not going to be playing fast runs, repeated notes, hugely varied dynamics and articulation or other techniques where they need the piano to respond as quickly and sensitively as intermediate to professional players. 

Our second hand pianos are properly set up and serviced in our workshops, which is reflected in the price compared to those found for sale privately. 

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is key for a technician working on a piano.  With 5000 working parts, measuring the details in those parts when designing a piano can make the difference.  For example, high quality manufacturers like Bechstein will actually measure the friction in the flange pin to make sure it is working at its absolute best.

A top quality piano will respond quickly and to the softest touch because of the quality, set-up and design of all the parts in the piano action.  There will also be a huge variation in the tone of a note depending how it is played due to the quality soundboard.

New and Old

New pianos will have a longer life as pianos do deteriorate over time.  There is also an argument to say as a piano settles it will get used to how it is being played.  A classical or jazz pianist will have a very different style of playing.  Pianos are like living instruments, they are primarily made of wood, so it will respond mainly to how it has been played.  It will begin to respond appropriately to a players touch.  Having said this, because acoustic pianos last decades, depending on your budget, a second hand piano offers great value for money as they are likely to have many more years of life left in them.

Acoustic vs Digital

Vibrations, resonances, and many nuances are not present in a digital instrument.  There is only a particular number of ways of playing a note that will be sampled for a digital piano.   These will be calculated by a computer and any gaps will be filled in by a computer called modelling.  A sample will be restricted by memory as the more memory, the less responsive the instrument will be. 

An acoustic piano needs to be set up and working properly which can cost more than the price of a digital instrument.  For this reason we only sell second hand pianos that have life left in and are worth spending the time on.  Digitals provide a good instrument for certain price range. 

There are also many other benefits of buying a digital piano over an acoustic, the main being able to plug in headphones for silent practice and connectivity to apps & software. 

Hybrid pianos however offer the best of both worlds.  Read more about the difference between pianos in our piano buying guide blog.

acoustic pianos at Mickleburgh

Brand New Pianos - aures

BRAND new pianos

Explore our range of incredible acoustic pianos from some of the worlds most iconic piano brands. All our products are carefully selected to ensure you are getting the very best quality instrument. 



All of our second hand pianos have been expertly restored and throughly tested to ensure every part of are working and sounded precisely as they should in our own workshops by experienced technicians. We also carry out extensive refurbishments to quality older pianos models such as Bechsteins, Steinways, Bosendorfers and Bluthners.

Upright Piano


If you’re looking for a space-efficient instrument, without compromising on sound output and quality, look no further than a upright piano. 



You will not beat the rich, crisp tones and sounds produced by the grand piano.

Manufactured through exquisite, detailed craftsmanship and the highest levels of attention to detail at every stage of the production process to guarantee the very best sound quality possible.

Grand Piano - CX SERIES

acoustic piano brands at Mickleburgh

About Us

Mickleburgh’s are a family business that have been involved with the making, renovation and selling of pianos since the 1870s, right here in the centre of Bristol.  Today we stock a huge range of acoustic pianos, with over 100 new and second hand uprights and grands available to choose from.  Compare the top brands such as Bechstein, Yamaha, Hoffmann, Kawai or contact us for advice about buying, selling, piano renovation and servicing, hiring, renting or removals.  We can answer almost any question you have about both acoustic and digital instruments.  Here in our showroom you can compare digital and acoustic pianos alongside each other, and our experienced staff are always on hand to offer honest advice and help you find the piano that most suits your needs. 

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